A backsplash has always been a functional part of a kitchen or bath design. Using durable and waterproof materials protects your walls from splashes and stains. However, it is a feature that is at eye level, so it also draws attention as a design feature.
Some homeowners choose a higher maintenance material to make their backsplash a truly unique focal point for their kitchen or bathroom remodel. 2023 backsplash trends are all about experimenting with different materials and styles to make a statement. In addition to traditional materials like tile or quartz slabs, wood, copper, and glass-covered wallpaper are all trendy ways to add interest to the wall space behind your kitchen or bathroom sink. In addition to the material, unique tile patterns and combinations of tiles have become a top trend that adds another dimension to any kitchen or bathroom.
Backsplashes can also extend right up to the ceiling, giving a dramatic focal point to a design. Whether you’d like an architectural feat with high-end materials or a simple but impactful backsplash, here are some of the latest styles that could transform your kitchen or bath remodel.
Assess Your Requirements
How do you need your backsplash to function? A bathroom backsplash should be entirely waterproof as, in addition to the faucets that can cause water to splash onto the walls, there is a moist atmosphere in any bathroom. Your kitchen backsplash needs to be compatible with your lifestyle, which depends on a number of factors. How often you cook and what type of food you eat will impact which backsplash you choose. It needs to withstand steam, heat, and oil splashes. It should also be durable enough to take scrubbing without being easily scratched. Ideally, your backsplash should just be wipe-clean. If you choose a high-maintenance material, then be prepared for the upkeep and patina that could develop over time. Both kitchen and bathroom backsplashes should be fashionable without looking like they will date easily as this is not a surface you will want to replace very often. Your backsplash should stand the test of time, like your countertop and cabinetry.
Consider This Year’s Metallic Look
If you want to go for something really different, why not bring a lustrous shine to your kitchen or bath remodel by using the latest metals as a backsplash? A huge trend this year is mixed metals so don’t be afraid of having different metals within your design as long as they are similarly cool or warm-toned.
Warm metallic shades bring warmth to an otherwise cool design and all metals reflect light to make a remodel feel brighter. Brass is a luxurious option for a backsplash material. It can be made to look older in production for an attractive patina. A brushed finish also makes scratches look less obvious. Brass does need to be cleaned regularly with a suitable product. Copper is big news in hardware and sinks and now it’s on the rise in backsplashes. You can go for a smooth finish or a textured hammered look. Acidic splashes can cause stains, but they can add to the interesting green appearance of copper as it oxidizes over time.
Opt for Seamless Durability
Engineered quartz is often used in countertops as it is exceptionally durable and can mimic a wide variety of natural stone materials. It can emulate veining and other unique features and won’t crack, scratch, or stain like its natural counterparts.
It comes in large slabs that are also ideal as a seamless backsplash. If you install the same engineered quartz for both your countertop and backsplash you create a truly seamless look that acts as a dramatic focal point in a kitchen or bath design. Why not choose a similar look for a kitchen island countertop in a waterfall style that falls to the floor for a truly eye-catching design feature? This takes your quartz surface from the backsplash to the countertops and down to the floor, creating a sleek style for your kitchen design. A quartz backsplash with a glossy finish reflects light around your design, opening up your space and giving it an airy feel.
Why Not Wood?
Wood paneling, shiplap, or beadboard is not an obvious choice for a kitchen or bathroom backsplash, but it is a unique and beautiful option if you are willing to commit to maintaining this surface. As wood is not naturally waterproof it needs to be sealed.
You can change the appearance of a wood backsplash by painting or staining but it needs to be regularly maintained with a wipeable gloss or satin finish. A natural wood backsplash would need to be treated with oil or wax to prevent staining.
If you love the look of wood, you could consider including it in a section of your kitchen design with a more durable surface in the messiest areas like behind the sink or cooking area. Or think about using it in a powder room instead of a busy, moisture-prone master bath or kids’ bathroom design.
An advantage is that wood can be cut on-site to ensure your backsplash fits around sockets. Ensure that the wood you use won’t swell or contract as this changes the shape of your custom backsplash. Wood is usually a cheaper material but can damage easily and is not fireproof, so is not ideal to continue behind a cooking area unless covered with glass. Although high maintenance, a backsplash with wood paneling suits some styles, such as farmhouse or coastal.
Try Tiles for a Unique Design
Ceramic, cement, porcelain, glass, and stone tiles are all great options for a kitchen or bathroom backsplash. You can put a few behind your sink or cover the space up to the ceiling for a look unique to you.
Why not experiment and be bold with your choice as your backsplash is only a section of the wall and therefore an ideal place to make a design statement? Tiles can be laid in different colors and patterns that are the same size. Geometric patterns are formed with tiles that are the same, or similar shades so the focus is on the pattern rather than color variations. Classic subway tiles can also be arranged in an offset, vertical, or herringbone pattern for a different take on this timeless style.
If you want to focus on an intense pattern, try Moroccan fish scale tiles arranged in any way you like. Arabesque, petals, and hexagons are other popular tile shapes that create unique patterns. Tiles with uneven but glossy finishes bounce light around and provide texture to a monotone design.
Incorporate a Mirrored Backsplash into Your Design
A mirrored backsplash is the ultimate way to reflect light around a room. It makes a room feel brighter and larger and brings character and individuality to your remodel. If you have a deep alcove behind your cooking area a mirrored backsplash brings the rear wall forward to become a part of the overall design. A wide backsplash balances out a long, narrow bathroom and gives the illusion of space. If you have a large, mirrored backsplash it might be difficult to keep blemish free. Antique glass already has a patina and characterful marks so is low maintenance as a backsplash. This material brings a unique vintage look to any kitchen or bath design without compromising its reflective qualities. If you don’t want to commit to a mirrored backsplash throughout your kitchen design, it can be a unique accompaniment to one area such as a beverage bar.
Lay It All Bare with Brick
Exposed brick is a great way to bring a laid-back warmth to any kitchen or bath remodel in a truly unique surface. It is a durable material that, once sealed, is low maintenance and long-lasting. It especially works as a backsplash in an industrial-style design but can be transformed by its surroundings. Pair it with metal accessories to give a brick backsplash a more industrial look or place it beside warm wood or rattan for an entirely different look.
Make a real statement with your backsplash by making color its main characteristic. This works very well in otherwise neutral kitchen or bath designs. Choose a color that appeals to you to make your design truly unique to you. Customizing your backsplash expresses your personality in your kitchen or bath remodel. Colored glass or bold tiles are unique ways to create a different backsplash with an accent color. Wallpaper or paint in a single, strong shade can be covered with glass to protect the wall and make a highly functional and unique backsplash.
Bring a Luxurious Touch with Marble
A marble backsplash brings classic elegance to a kitchen or bath remodel. As your backsplash is concentrated in one area, consider investing in this luxurious option for a high-impact result. It is a natural stone that has long been popular and stays in fashion with contemporary twists. A current trend for marble is to install it in large slabs. Choose an unusual color with rich veining to add a stunning focal point to your design. Fluted surfaces are another trend that adds texture to your luxury backsplash. Marble requires expert, precision cutting around sockets so make sure to work with a trusted expert when installing this material as part of a bathroom or kitchen design. It also needs regular sealing but is then stain, water, and heat resistant once properly maintained.
The best backsplash for your kitchen or bathroom remodel depends on several factors. Tiles are usually the best option for a traditional style, and you can’t go wrong with ceramic or porcelain, with subway tiles being a classic that never goes out of style. Natural stone is a timeless choice that brings a touch of luxury to your home, and quartz slabs are a popular option that gives your room a sleek look.
Keep your budget in mind, remembering that installation and ongoing upkeep could outweigh an initially expensive but low-maintenance material. Also, consider how long the backsplash material will last and how much it improves the overall aesthetic of your remodel.
The best choice is a backsplash that is both durable and stylish. Ensure your backsplash has color, texture, or pattern, and make sure this highly visible surface will fit your home’s style. Finally, position lighting to enhance the appearance of your backsplash and enjoy it as a centerpiece.